A vaccination campaign aimed at preventing health workers in Africa from contracting the Ebola virus in the line of duty is underway, a senior official at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) has said.

Francisco Lucero, head of the outbreak division at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, said that vaccinating front-line workers in African countries where Ebola is endemic would be a giant step in reducing the number of cases and deaths associated with Ebola. “Our new program aims to ensure the protection of this specific group of frontline workers who will be involved in the response to future pandemics,” he said. Lucero told Xinhua during a virtual interview in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Friday (June 14).

According to Mr. Lucero, GAVI will rely on WHO guidelines to advise African countries threatened by Ebola on how to put in place the necessary structures to facilitate staff health vaccination.

Some health workers have been vaccinated with doses from the global stockpile, according to Mr. Lucero, who adds that Guinea Bissau, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have implemented the practice in the recent past.

He also told Xinhua News Agency that preventive vaccination against Ebola targeting health service providers will depend on the recommendations of the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Expert Group.